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Death Penalty: Support Abolition

    May 14, 2015

    Released 00:01 BST 15 May 2015

    A 24-year-old man is at imminent risk of execution, for a crime which took place while he was below 18 years of age, despite the fact that his case is currently under judicial review, said Amnesty International, urging the Iranian authorities to halt all plans to implement the sentence.

    The organization has been warned that the execution of Hamid Ahmadi, who was convicted of fatally stabbing a man during a group fight that took place when he was 16 years old, could be imminent even though the Supreme Court has confirmed that an application for a review of his case is currently being processed.  

    April 28, 2015

    The execution of eight people in Indonesia today shows complete disregard for due process and human rights safeguards, Amnesty International said. The organization also called for any plans to carry out further executions to be scrapped.

    Eight people, including Indonesian and foreign nationals, were today put to death by firing squad on Nusakambangan Island, off Java. All of them had been convicted of drug trafficking. The execution of a Filipina national, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, was halted at the last minute by President Widodo

    “These executions are utterly reprehensible– they were carried out with complete disregard for internationally recognized safeguards on the use of the death penalty,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “President Joko Widodo should immediately abandon plans to carry out further executions and impose a moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards abolition.”

    April 28, 2015

    Pakistan has today reached a “shameful milestone” with the 100th execution since a moratorium on executions was lifted in December 2014, said Amnesty International. The country is gaining a reputation as one of the leading executioners in the world.
    Amnesty International recorded the 100th execution in Pakistan today, since a moratorium was lifted on 17 December 2014 in the wake of the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar. Munir Hussain, sentenced to death for murder, was hanged in Punjab province this morning.

    “In reaching this shameful milestone of 100 executions in just over four months, the Pakistani authorities are showing total disregard for human life. Our concerns are heightened by manifestly unfair trials in many cases that fall well below minimum standards set by international law. This conveyor belt of killing will do nothing to address the root causes of crime and terrorism, and must end immediately,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    April 27, 2015

    April 23, 2015

    "I believe my sister would not be alive today if it were not for all the people in China and across the world that spoke up for her. I want to give a heartfelt thank you to all the Amnesty International supporters everywhere who expressed concern and offered help to my sister, her life has been saved as a result"

    -Li Dehuai, brother of Li Yan 

    We are pleased to share the good news that the death sentence on Li Yan has been overturned!

    Li Yan had been sentenced to death in China for killing her abusive ex-husband. Her sentence is now commuted to the death sentence with a two-year reprieve. Under the Chinese law, death sentences with a two-year reprieve should be commuted to life imprisonment upon the expiration of the two-year period, as long as the prisoner does not commit another crime during the period of suspension.

    April 26, 2015

    Amnesty International Australia Release

    Amnesty International is calling for an immediate and urgent halt to plans to execute a group of prisoners in Indonesia, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, following confirmation of 72 hours notice until the state sanctioned killings take place.

    “If these executions go ahead, they'll be a serious stain on Indonesia's human rights record and Joko Widodo’s Presidency and damage relations between Indonesia and its friends, including Australia,” said Diana Sayed, Human Rights Lawyer and Amnesty International Australia Crisis Campaigner.

    “Hundreds of thousands of people from right around Australia and the world have continued to respectfully call for a halt to the executions and mercy for those on death row.

    "Despite their pleas, it’s deeply troubling the Indonesian government is apparently determined to push ahead with more killings, despite showing promise to move away from the death penalty until executions resumed in 2013.”  

    April 16, 2015

    The Pakistan Supreme Court’s decision to suspend death sentences passed by military courts is an important recognition of serious questions about the lawfulness of the country’s new military tribunal system, Amnesty International said.

    The Supreme Court today suspended death sentences imposed by military courts, after the Supreme Court Bar Association challenged a constitutional amendment passed in January that sped up the prosecution of terror cases and moved them from civilian to military courts.

    There are more than 8,000 prisoners on death row in Pakistan. Since a moratorium on the execution of civilians was lifted in December, at least 76 people have been executed.

    “This ruling by the Supreme Court is a step in the right direction, which points to something being very wrong in the government’s relentless rush to execute death row prisoners since December,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    April 14, 2015

    Today’s execution of an Indonesian woman with a suspected mental illness is just the latest in the recent macabre spike in Saudi Arabia’s state-sponsored killings, Amnesty International said.

    Saudi Arabian state media reported that Siti Zainab Binti Duhri Rupa was executed this morning in Medina. She was sentenced to death in 1999 after she “confessed” in police custody to killing a woman who had allegedly mistreated her since hiring her as a domestic worker the year before.

    The authorities waited for more than 15 years for the youngest of the victim’s children to reach adulthood to decide whether or not the family would want to pardon Siti Zainab or demand her execution under qisas (retribution).

    “Imposing the death penalty and executing someone with a suspected mental illness smacks of a basic lack of humanity. This practice has been widely condemned on the world stage and Saudi Arabia should take this opportunity to reconsider its stance on the death penalty,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    April 01, 2015

    Death sentences imposed on soldiers accused of participating in December’s attempted coup d’état in Gambia are a cruel violation of the right to life and the right to a fair trial, Amnesty International said today.  

    A military court handed down death sentences to three soldiers and sentences of life imprisonment to three others following a trial on Monday 30 March 2015. The trial was held in secret; media and independent observers were barred from observing the proceedings.

    "Gambia’s justice system is deeply flawed and we have concerns about the fairness of the trial, given that it was held in secret,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa. 

    “Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Many countries in West Africa are moving away from the use of death penalty and it is disappointing that the Gambia has not followed this trend.”

    April 01, 2015

    By Aubrey Harris, Amnesty Canada's volunteer coorindator for the Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty

    “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” boomed the Wizard… This scene in the Wizard of Oz can of course be applied to many situations but it is particularly apt when it comes to the death penalty. Despite continued global progression towards universal abolition – and progression in transparency in a few states, a number of the world’s death penalty states keep attempting to draw the curtain closed. They do not want their population to know how ineffective the death penalty is, or how many people are executed – or even HOW the state executes prisoners. Why the secrecy? In general the more the public sees and learns about the death penalty, the less they like it.

    March 31, 2015
    Released on Wednesday 1 April 00.01am GMT States used the death penalty in a flawed attempt to tackle crime, terrorism and internal instability Sharp spike in death sentences largely due to Egypt and Nigeria - at least 2,466 imposed globally, up 28% on 2013 607 executions recorded, down almost 22% on 2013 (excluding those carried out in China, which executed more than the rest of the world put together) 22 countries known to have executed, the same number as 2013

    March 30, 2015
    by Samantha Bartlett 30 March 2015, 10:59AM, originally posted by Amnesty International Australia
      Myth 1: Only evil people who have committed horrific crimes are executed

    FACT: The death penalty applies to a number of different crimes worldwide, not all of which are horrific. In many countries, such as Iran and Sudan, authorities execute their political opponents. In North Korea, citizens have been publicly executed for communicating with individuals outside of their country.

    Regardless of the crime committed, there is more to an individual than their worst offence. Many of the prisoners on death row in the US suffered horrific abuses prior to committing violent crimes; and are a product of their environments.

    March 24, 2015

    Utah’s decision to turn to the firing squad if it is unable to secure drugs for lethal injection is the latest attempt by a US state to keep alive a punishment that should have long ago been consigned to the history books, said Amnesty International today.

    “Whether by shooting, lethal injection, hanging, asphyxiation or electrocution, the death penalty is a cruel, brutalizing and outdated punishment that is a symptom of violence, not a solution to it. The Utah legislature should be expending its energies on abolishing the death penalty, not trying to fix the unfixable,” said Rob Freer, USA researcher Amnesty International.

    On Monday 23 March, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a law allowing the use of firing squads when the drugs needed to administer the lethal injection was not available.

    This move clearly goes against the global and national trend towards abolition of the death penalty. Since 2007 six US states have abolished the death penalty for all crimes and the governors of Oregon, Washington and, in 2015, Pennsylvania have established moratoriums on executions in their states.

    March 18, 2015

    The Iranian authorities must prove that their participation at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is more than a mere PR exercise, by halting any plans to execute an alleged juvenile offender and ordering a judicial review of his case, said Amnesty International.

    The execution of Saman Naseem, a member of Iran’s Kurdish minority, following a grossly unfair trial that relied on ‘confessions’ extracted under torture, was scheduled to take place one month before the UN Human Rights Council session on 19 March. The execution was not carried out then and the authorities have refused to officially disclose his fate and whereabouts since.

    “We fear the Iranian authorities may have postponed Saman Naseem’s execution merely to avoid criticism and condemnation at the UN Human Rights Council session, leaving him at even graver risk of execution once the review ends,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    March 17, 2015

    The mass execution of 12 people in Pakistan today highlights the horrific consequences of the government’s decision to resume executions for all death row prisoners, Amnesty International said.

    The 12 men were hanged in prisons across the country this morning and had been convicted of crimes including “terrorism” and murder. Since a moratorium on executions was lifted in December 2014, Pakistan has put 39 people to death. Amongst those executed was Muhammad Afzal, who was 16 years old when he was sentenced to death.

    Last week, Pakistan’s government confirmed a change in its policy on the death penalty by announcing that executions would resume for all capital crimes, not just for prisoners convicted on “terrorism”-related offenses.

    “The news that 12 more people were executed in Pakistan this morning is dismaying. The government is apparently intent on making good on promises to send everyone, including children, sentenced to death to the gallows,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    March 16, 2015

    by Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International, Director of Global Issues

    A couple of weeks ago, on 13 February, we woke up to the good news that Fiji had joined the ranks of countries to abolish the death penalty for all crimes. There are now 99 countries who have completely scrapped the ultimate cruel and inhuman punishment from their laws – exactly half of all states in the world.

          "The historic milestone of 100 death penalty free countries is within close reach."    

    The historic milestone of 100 death penalty free countries is within close reach.  The parliaments in both Suriname and Madagascar have recently approved bills abolishing executions – all that is left is for the countries’ presidents to sign them into law, although it remains to be seen who gets there first.


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